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Welcome to the Challenge Facts tutorial

This web page is a tutorial on just one part of a free training web site on brainstorming.

How to use the Challenge Facts technique

How many facts are really facts and how many are just the most reasonable, educated guess based upon the knowledge known at the time? It is very rare that anything remains an undeniable fact for too long, especially when you consider people's views and differently acquired knowledge. We are in a constant state of change. We think differently as we gain knowledge and skills in thinking. One generation to the next have different aims, ambitions and morals. What might be seen as a good thing by one generation could be seen as a bad thing by the next. Political parties change their views, as do their voters. Due to personal circumstances, individuals can change their whole philosophy of life within months. Technology and other inventions now change the world faster than most people can keep up with. What seemed impossible one week can become plausible the next, reality within months and an accepted way of life in a year or two. This is not really surprising when you consider the combined, diverse thought power of billions of people spread across the globe.

How do you know that what you considered to be a fact in the past has now become inappropriate due to changes which have happened since then? Might you now be able to improve your current product because of a change in human values or lifestyles?

The way to answer these questions is to challenge the facts. You are not saying that the facts are wrong but you are investigating what might happen if that fact were not true. It is important not to see this technique as a way of proving someone wrong or inaccurate. Everyone does what they think to be right at the time and based upon the knowledge they have at that time. If you now have more information or the world has changed in some way, this does not put any blame on the person who had the original idea or on someone who could not solve the probortunity. Just as you must be considerate towards the people whose facts you are challenging, you should acknowledge that the world will probably develop a better way of doing what you are doing now. This does not reflect on your ability, it merely reflects the way in which the world develops. At one time all the available evidence gave rise to the fact that the sun went round the world. If no one had challenged this fact, then we might still believe it. Even Einstein's theory of relativity has been modified to take into account effects which were not possible for him to contemplate because technology at the time could not do what it does now.

The Challenge Facts technique asks you to consider what you think are facts and investigate what differences and advantages it would make if they were not facts. You could try to imagine what would be the case if the fact were totally wrong. Or you could try to modify the fact and see whether that now fits into the current situation better than the original one. Or is the world likely to change so that the modified fact will fit in better in the future? If so, what new ideas does this future world suggest? If you find that your new consideration blatantly doesn't fit, then consider what advantages this hypothetical situation might have and how you might be able to incorporate them into your current solution.

You are using the challenge of a fact as a stimulus for new ideas, nothing else.

First list the facts, then write a statement which challenges that fact, then use that challenge to develop new ideas.

Example 1:


Computer users position the mouse pointer over one of many buttons they want to use and press a single mouse button.

Challenge of the fact:

Computer users position the mouse pointer over a single button and press one or more mouse buttons.

New idea based on challenging the fact:

Have an area of the screen where if the mouse is over it, the user can press one or more mouse buttons to perform different functions.

Example 2:


Companies pay its employees for their time.

Challenge of the fact:

Employees pay their company for the use of its facilities.

New idea based on challenging the fact:

Each employee receives a percentage of the profits based on their position within the company and the amount of time and contributions spent on its products or services. Out of this amount is taken the amount of money related to that employee's use of the facilities. In this way the employee is directly affected by the quality of the product or service and is more motivated to improve it. Also, the employee is directly affected by the amount of money they use in the course of their work. It could also mean that employees are free to live their own life and work the way they want to work.


Examples for you to practise on:

Fact: Unemployment benefit is kept to a low level to encourage the unemployed to work.

Fact: Trains set off from the station at set times.

Please try this technique for yourself and you will certainly improve at coming up with new ideas.

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